ProSieben profits hit new high in ’98

TV performs well for profits

BERLIN — ProSieben Media achieved its best-ever annual result last year, boasting a gross income of $182 million. Although the media group was left with a considerably diminished $88 million after taxes, it was still a 47% increase over 1997.

“For 1998, the ProSieben Group is able to present record results at a level never before achieved by any other television company in Germany,” company chairman Georg Kofler said. “Our three business segments — television, multimedia and merchandising — are all achieving above- average profit performances compared to the rest of the industry.”

The Munich-based ProSieben Group has been active in German television since 1989 when it launched its Pro7 channel, followed by Kabel 1 in 1992. Last year 95% of ProSieben’s revenues came from its television operations. Pro7 alone generated $917 million in revenue, resulting in a pre-tax profit of $187 million. Meanwhile, Kabel 1 recorded its first profit in 1998, grossing $11 million on revenues of $177 million. It was a major improvement over 1997’s loss of $5 million.

Expansion plans

The company, which acquired the German news agency ADN in December, recently announced the development of its 24-hour news channel N24. “The focus in 1999 will be on innovation and expansion,” Kofler said. “In particular, we will focus on developing the information program field, which … is the second mainstay of the ProSieben Group in addition to the entertainment sector.”

ProSieben also saw a big leap in profits in its multimedia sector, including Internet services, teletext and digital foreign advertising windows on ProSieben and Kabel 1. Profits were $9 million in 1998 compared with a loss of $1.7 million in 1997.

ProSieben’s merchandising business saw profits increase by nearly $2 million over 1997 to $2.3 million. The company’s most valuable assets include its library of films and television series, valued at $800 million last year, and broadcasting rights, yet to be exercised, worth $663 million.

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